The sound of excited spectators, barking dogs and band instruments echoed through downtown Los Altos as 55 groups marched and rolled down Main St. for the 75th annual Kiwanis Pet Parade on Saturday.
The parade was organized by the Los Altos Kiwanis club — a sector of a non-profit international organization that focuses on giving back to the city — and features schools, dignitaries and organizations like the Girl Scouts, Humane Society of Silicon Valley and the Los Trancos Wood Community Marching Band. Planning for this year’s parade began in March of 2021.
This year’s parade was a return to normalcy after the pandemic: In 2020, it was virtual, and in 2021, participants were socially-distanced in their cars. As a result, only the parade received less than half of typical turnout over the past two years.
“I think people are coming out of the pandemic so [participation] was a little lighter, but I think it’ll come back.” said Irene Suzuki, resident and 13-year attendee. “It’s always a lot of fun, it’s a really unique thing to Los Altos.”
“It’s a very quaint small town event that’s typical to the heart of Los Altos and it brings the community out,” Kate Mosley, president of the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce said. “It’s so nice after the pandemic to enjoy each other’s company again and to be in town.”
Many businesses in downtown Los Altos experienced an influx of customers due to the increased foot traffic, Mosley said.
Ellen Biolsi, the founder and owner of Cranberry Scoop, said she anticipated increased sales due to the event every year, and the parade has been somewhat of a constant in her life. Both Biolsi and Mosley said they fondly remember coming to the parade as children.
“It’s a great community event that’s been going on for 75 years,” Biolsi said. “I grew up in the area and we went here when were kids. Now we’ve come back in a whole circle.”